There was a mixed reaction from corporate New Zealand to today's Budget, which offered little direct help to small companies.
Business NZ chief executive Kirk Hope said there was "not much" on offer for businesses, apart from the $1 billion over the next four years for tax rebates from the research and development tax credit.
The pre-announced tax credit will let businesses claim 12.5c back for every dollar spent on R&D, provided the bill is more than $100,000 a year.
"The Government is clearly going to be spending a lot of money, as with the previous Government, in their operating budget and development of infrastructure over the next five years but the critical element for small and medium businesses is how they can participate in the development of some of that infrastructure and expenditure," Hope said.
The R&D tax credit rebates would likely not be accessible for smaller firms, he said.
"If you're looking at small innovative start-ups, they don't make any money, so unless they are able to carry forward losses or utilise the credit in some way shape or form, it's not really helpful for them," Hope said.
"Even though there's $1 billion over four years, how small firms access that, will be really critical."
Xero country manager Craig Hudson said the R&D funding had the opportunity to help small business, as long as it was easy for them to access.
"This Government was clear on what their focuses would be for this Budget in the lead up and that's what we are seeing here today," Hudson said.
"It is a shame that there is nothing specific to help hard-working small businesses in New Zealand, however, we hope Xero Small Business Insights will help the Government develop meaningful policies for small businesses in the future."
Overall, Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said the Budget was a hit, but agreed there was nothing in it for small business.
"For small business, the unfortunate thing is many of them are sitting there looking at potential changes to the working environment around employment laws, so their compliance costs and costs of doing businesses, they'll be looking and saying that they are going up," Barnett said.
"As long as Government can keep the economy stimulated, small business is still going to do well. When you're spending you're stimulating and when you're stimulating business is going to benefit."
Beany chief executive Sue De Bievre said the Budget was a hit in her eyes despite little benefits for small business.
"Even though there isn't a huge amount in there specifically for small business, I think, the increase in the surplus, going up to $3.1 billion surplus, the better the shape of the economy, the better, surely, for small business," De Bievre said.
It is a shame that there is nothing specific to help hard working small businesses in New Zealand.
Government has allocated $31.3 million in funding over the next four years to Inland Revenue for a tax crackdown.
Revenue Minister Stuart Nash expected the crackdown would raise an additional $183m in revenue during that time, and a total of $726m of tax revenue, including from its previously announced move to impose an "Amazon tax" on low value goods and to ring fence investors' tax losses on rentals.
"We are not changing tax rates. But we do need a tax system that is simple, balanced and fair – where people and businesses comply with their obligations, and where those in similar circumstances pay the same amount," Nash said.
De Bievre said the crackdown on tax and stance on fairness was also a win.
"The Government is going to chase down the people who are not paying tax, their trying to tax offshore companies for selling here and then ring fencing the tax on property, I think all of those are positive things.
"There's not a fat-lot in there directly for small business, it's more macro stuff rather than directly giving money to business people."
Hope said it was a "safe" Budget.
"It's not a hit budget for business, it's not a miss budget, the key thing is that they've kept some gas in the tank in terms of retaining surpluses and that's really important."